Tragedy and triumph

In today’s study, Selwyn summarises the events that occurred during ‘those three days that changed the world. They were the most critical days in history. And during them, God laid down in the bedrock of the universe some anchor points that are as solid and immovable as the very throne of God itself.’

To follow Jesus, means to follow the pattern of life that He laid down while He was on earth – it also means that we too must be prepared to carry our own cross; to endure slander, to be tortured by the hands of men, and for some to suffer the pain of a violent death.

Yet, we can see past this suffering to our own resurrection (with the help of the Holy Spirit).  In Mark 16:1-7 (NIV) – the text for reading and meditation, we have these fabulous words: ‘When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” ‘

Likewise, when we – who are following Jesus, die – we will rise to see Jesus – just as He told us.

Any comments?


[Sometimes, I receive comments about the type of biblical language that I use, along the lines that it might be hard for some, who are not familiar with the Bible, to understand. First off, my overall writing style is not that good at the best of times, and I often make grammatical errors. However, the spiritual understanding of my words about following Jesus does not depend on my flawed intellect and poor writing skills – the Holy Spirit is able to use my inadequate words – in His perfect way. I know that nothing stops His message being received by those He has chosen.]

‘Hold your ground’

To a certain degree, today’s study covers a lot of yesterday’s ground.

Selwyn’s introduction, also serves as a conclusion: “We must be careful not to miss the real point of Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to stand firm and let nothing move them [1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV): “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because … your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”]

The Corinthians were somewhat unstable in their belief and their behaviour (as we are today?). However, if they could fully understand the significance of the resurrection, they would not easily be swayed by external pressures and false teaching.”

On the verses (Isaiah 65:17-25, NIV), which Selwyn has selected for reading and meditation – there can be a fair bit of confusion unless you place Isaiah’s words into context, especially the historical context – Isaiah is writing about a new relationship with a remnant of Israel – a remnant, who need to repent of their old evil ways (the worship of foreign gods) and change their lives by seeking the one, true God. God will then create a new relationship where peace and joy will be experienced IF the people are obedient.

I don’t think that these verses are an explicit reference to our post-resurrection period (however, they point to some essential elements of our eternal lives – love, peace and joy); this can be clearly seen in Isaiah 65:20, where death is still experienced by those who have lived a ‘full’  and productive life.

Isaiah 65:9-10 (NIV): “I (God) will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live. Sharon will become a pasture for flocks,  and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for my people who seek me.

But as for you who forsake the LORD and forget my holy mountain, who spread a table for Fortune  and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you for the sword, and you will all bend down for the slaughter; for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight  and chose what displeases me.”

Isaiah 65:16-17 “Whoever invokes a blessing in the land will do so by the God of truth; he who takes an oath in the land will swear by the God of truth. For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes. Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

Isaiah 65:23-25 “They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, (this, in my view, is poetical language which signifies that God’s peace will even extend to nature – He will bring order to a chaotic, violent world) but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.”

In summary, those who hold firm to God’s promises and fully understand the significance of Jesus’ resurrection – will not be easily led astray by the world’s ways. The followers of Jesus will be blessed by the Lord; our calls for help will be answered, as we can be confident that He hears our prayers ‘while we are still speaking’.

We, who know Jesus – must surely rejoice in a much fuller way then those who lived in Old Testament times – but, do we?  What do you think?